In the first six months of 2023, China imported 18% less chips for various purposes compared to the same period last year. According to the SCMP, this is proven by Chinese customs data: against the background of the sanctions imposed by the USA and its allies in the field of semiconductors and other technologies, deliveries are falling.
According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China, imports of chips into the country fell to 227.7 billion pieces – in the same period last year, 279.6 billion were shipped to China. Interestingly, the numbers improved somewhat in June – in the first five months of 2023 the decline was 19.6%. The total value of chips shipped in the first half of the year fell 22.4% to $162.6 billion. It should be noted that the fall in imports in the semiconductor industry was much larger than the fall in imports across the country, which totaled $1.5 billion, down just 0.1% year-on-year.
These market shifts come amid increasing US efforts to restrict China’s access to advanced chips and related equipment. In addition to the US itself, supplies have been limited by its allies. For example, China’s imports from South Korea fell by 19.6% over the period, and from Japan and Taiwan by 11.1% and 18.9%, respectively.
China’s lack of full access to cutting-edge chips has already disrupted production chains, causing the stock prices of companies like Inspur Group, which ranks as the world’s second-biggest maker of AI servers, to plummet. The fact is that the company was blacklisted by US regulators for acquiring some components of American origin in the interest of the Chinese military.
Chinese companies’ acute need for advanced semiconductors for AI projects has led to massive smuggling of chips like NVIDIA’s A100 and H100. Meanwhile, China is growing production of semiconductors manufactured using older technologies to replace previously imported products. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, local production of Chinese chips rose 0.1% to 140 billion pieces in the first five months of 2023.